The little things that slip through the cracks of proofreading often glare out at us once our copy is in print. All we can do is to hope that nobody will notice. If your audience is the Over 50s – they will notice everything! They notice the little things, the big things, and the colossal errors.They’ll find that one typo, and then they’ll tell you about it.
We have fallen prey to their proofreading mastery before, and it got us thinking “our readers are our best proofreaders”.
In one of our own books aimed at the over 50s market, we recently ran an article about how caravans are a great way to see Australia, with this picture of a caravan. Can you spot the error?
We received multiple calls within 2 days of the book being out, and all of them mentioning an error in our image choice. It took us a moment at first, but then we saw that the caravan in the image is driving on the wrong side of the road for Australia. Either the driver is breaking the law, or he’s on a completely different continent. Our readers noticed, their children and grandchildren did not.
Fallout From Typos Can Be Disastrous
This error is minor compared to some other blunders that have occurred in the last decade. One of the biggest, and most costly, proofreading errors was made by Penguin Publishing Australia. A nightmare of epic proportions. It all started with a cookbook. The Pasta Bible’s recipe for tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto called for “salt and freshly ground black pepper”. However, the typo that went to print was “salt and freshly ground black people”. Yikes! An urgent recall was put into effect, and thousands of PR dollars were spent on trying to fix the damage. However, the error floats around the Internet to this day – forever immortal.
Your Readers Could Be The Answer
As comforting as it is to know that even majors such as Penguin Publishing are prone to errors like the rest of us, it would be better to know that there may be a way to get ahead of the game. Even with all modern spell checkers and grammar checkers at our fingertips to help us proofread, nothing is more effective than a discerning pair of eyes. We have found none so discerning as readers in their 50s and beyond. They are thorough readers and quick to tell you if they find something awry. Thanks to the Internet, it is possible to hire proofreaders and editors from their own home, and thus, it is possible to have sharp readers become even sharper proofreaders.
It is worth considering – a remote job for some of the keenest eyes in print to ensure that you’re on top of things and they don’t have to call you about an error after it is already published.